Saturday Art Workshops — 10.13.18

Colleen’s screen printing Logos with Stencils

A logo stencil printed on a bag

A logo stencil printed on a bag

This week I observed and helped out in Colleen’s lesson on screen printing logos for invented organizations using stencils on paper. It was great to see she had materials on hand for them to make bandannas, t-shirts or a canvas bag if they wanted those. She started off by asking them about their creative activities this week during the opening ceremony that we have been doing. This got them engaged and was a nice transition into thinking about designing a logo while she showed her example stencil. She showed them the PowerPoint of various logos and asked them to interpret those. After that, she provided an informal assessment of their prior knowledge by quizzing them on semi-blank logos with parts missing, asking them to pare down to the essentials when they make their drawings for their logos. She requested that they make three sketches to start. One student groaned a bit but it was good for that kid to slow down a bit and think through her ideas more.

A logo stencil ready to print

A logo stencil ready to print

A logo about acting

A logo about acting

Putting ink on the screens

Putting ink on the screens

Applying the squeegee

Applying the squeegee

A kid's bandanna

A kid’s bandanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the sketches were approved and suggestions made, Colleen showed them how to screen print with her stencil in a demonstration. I thought the pacing of this lesson was successful for her in terms of how she introduced the idea and the parts of the activity. She also explained to them how to be safe while using an exact-o blade, which for 4th grade, can be tricky. They seemed to understand how the color would only be applied to the spaces that they cut out, so they had an idea already about negative and positive space and worked it out while they were making it. The collaborative aspect of requiring a partner to assist in holding the screen while another prints is a nice way to build community. One student had an issue with matching the squeegee size with the screen and so she had a limitation in material, but she solved the problem by just turning the squeegee so it fit better, which is part of the process of making art; the mistakes can either be helpful or a hindrance.

Overall this lesson was a success because the students were engaged, developed their ideas more fully through brainstorming and made productive results. The students have a good rapport with Colleen and each other as well.

Day of Remembrance at the Holden Cancer Center–10.3.18

Memory Wheel

Memory Wheel

We volunteered at the Holden Cancer Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals as part of our class.  Bereaved people who had lost a relative or friend came and wrote on strips of colored fabric as a memorial to their loved one.  They could also snip a piece of the fabric and take it home on a card as a reminder of the day.  When completed, the ribbons formed a colorful wheel where the writing became private.

Inks & Chromatography

alcohol inks

Alcohol Inks on Yupo and Watercolor Paper

Alcohol Inks on Yupo and Watercolor Paper

The watercolor paper gives a softer, mottled effect, whereas the Yupo paper is glossy and imparts brighter colors to your designs.  You can use layering as it dries, as well as a straw to blow the ink over it after you’ve applied the 90% rubbing alcohol with a dropper.  You can also move the paper around to make drips and designs.

Markers and Rubbing Alcohol

Sharpies and Watercolor Markers with Rubbing Alcohol

Sharpies and Watercolor Markers with Rubbing Alcohol

This process involved using washable water-based and fabric markers.  After you use them, you drop rubbing alcohol on them to create a tie-dye type effect. This was made on canvas.

chromatography

Chromatography

Chromatography

This is a fun process that you could link to science lessons in your classroom, based on the idea of chromatography.1 This means that different colors have molecules that separate out based on how much they are absorbed by the paper.  Using a coffee filter, we applied washable markers to the paper and stuck in a cup of water part way.  The colors wicked up and separated out.

 

1 Keller, R., & Giddings, J. (2018). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/chromatography

Spinning Yarns about Textiles: Batik, Felting & Finger Knitting

Batik: Toothpaste/lotion mixture & Crayon resist

Traditional batik was brought to Africa in the 19th century by English and Dutch traders traveling from Indonesia before stopping in Africa. Many African tribes, including the Yoruba from Nigeria, Wolof and Soninke from Senegal, and Bamana from Mali, started to experiment with their own designs using mud, cassava starch and rice paste instead of wax to resist the
dye.1

For our own batik examples, we used a novel combination of white toothpaste mixed with lotion in about equal quantities.  You can use any type of lotion: petroleum or plant based.  One option is to make a drawing on a piece of paper underneath and then trace with the mixture in a squeeze bottle over the top on the fabric, or you can freely apply, which is what I did.

Crayon Resist

Crayon Resist

Batik Toothpaste & Lotion

Batik Toothpaste & Lotion

Crayon Resist

Crayon Resist

I made a Greek keys design since I’m half Greek.  After you let the mixture dry for about two days, you can apply the fabric dye (or acrylic paint thinned with water) in any manner you choose.  I noticed that the dye bled through the fabric to the newspaper underneath, so I used that under a new sheet of fabric and dotted the dye back up into the design with my finger.

You can rinse out the dye after it has dried on any of the samples if you wish, but you have to rinse the toothpaste mixture one in cold water to remove the paste. Then hang to dry.  With the crayon resist, you can iron it under a newspaper to remove the wax after dyeing.

Wet & Dry Felting

Wet felting is created through a process using wool roving from sheep.  I layered the felt by pulling bits apart and placing in a composition.  Each layer goes on top at a 90 degree angle and you can use about 4-5 layers, that way you don’t have holes in your felted object.

Felted Landscape: Sunset

Felted Landscape (wet): A Sunset or Jupiter?

Then you place in a plastic bag and spray with a  mixture of natural soap like olive oil and warm water because it has low suds. After sealing, we used a bamboo sushi roller under the plastic bag containing the wet felt, rolled up and agitating the bag for around 20 minutes, turning the bag every so often and re-rolling.  Allow to dry at least overnight.  This is a safe process for kids.

Dry needle felting is made by stabbing layers of roving with a felting needle around size 38.  The puncturing process holds the layers together as a type of felt that tends to be a bit hairier than wet felting, in more ways than one.

This isn’t a very safe technique for kids younger than middle school for sure, and probably mainly for those who are advanced, because you end up nicking your fingers if you’re not paying attention.

The letter P in the image below was made in a tiny cookie cutter and was probably the hardest to wrangle.

Felted Stomach with a Pimento, the Letter P and a Felted Gumball

Felted Stomach with a Pimento (wet), the Letter P (also dry) and a Felted Gumball (dry)

finger knitting

Finger knitting can be done on one or multiple fingers, in this case, we used four.  I used to do this as a kid and remember making a purse.  You start by making a slipknot for the one finger method, taking the yarn back around your finger and bringing the lower one up over the higher one and off and repeating.  The four finger method is easier to watch than explain in words.

For our class, we’re donating the scarves we made to Mark Twain Elementary here in Iowa City as part of community arts.

One finger knitting

One finger knitting

Four finger knitted scarf

Four finger knitted scarf

Detail

Detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1Kitenge Store. (2018). Retrieved from https://kitengestore.com/traditional-batik-making-ghana-west-africa.

Sampler Book with Handmade Papers

a great way to collect your paper experiments

Sampler Book

Sampler Book

Sampler book pages

Sampler book pages

 

 

 

 

 

Our sampler books contain many of the handmade paper explorations we’ve done in class, linked here, such as Turkish, Suminagashi, shaving cream, Prang Ambrite pastel, rice or cornstarch paste paper, and handmade recycled paper.  I listed corn husk and papyrus paper below as well, which were all really fun.  I included many different types of drawing papers tucked away inside.

Rice paste paper

Rice paste paper

Shaving cream paper

Shaving cream paper

Cornstarch papers

Cornstarch papers

Turkish marbling

Turkish marbling

Suminigashi paper

Suminigashi paper

 

 

Handmade recycled paper

Handmade recycled paper

 

Other drawing papers

Other drawing papers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside we placed other papers suitable for watercolor and drawing, such as marker, pastel, illustration and various drawing papers.  These will come in handy when I’m thinking about new drawing projects for the kids and trying to decide which paper for them to use.

Japanese Stab Binding

Japanese Stab Binding

This is a form of binding which is suitable for small books that are not too thick, maybe an inch or less.  It’s a simple and elegant way to bind pages together.

Handmade recycled paper

Handmade recycled paper

Here is some recycled paper made from soaking bits of paper overnight and then chopping up in a blender until they are fairly smooth.  You need to add a fair amount of water when doing this.  If you use a rag paper as an additive (in small quantities), you should use 100% cotton since it’s easier to work with.  After using a shaped screen and sponging the water out, it was fun to play with various colors and silver leaf bits as well.  You can add botanicals like flowers or seeds if you wish, during the screening process.

 

Other paper experiments: Corn Husk & Papyrus

Flattening the papryrus core

Flattening the papryrus core

Assembling the corn husks

Assembling the corn husks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made corn husk paper out of husks which are soaked in soda ash and cooked for 2 hours, which breaks up the fibers.  For this process you need to use gloves, a dust mask and good ventilation as well as only a stainless steel or enamel pot.  It can be quite toxic. Our teacher did this part for us. Then, you lay out the husks on a couch sheet to absorb the water, close together like weaving.  Afterwards, you press the papers together on a blotter paper or flower type press.

Corn husk paper

Corn husk paper

Papyrus

Papyrus

For the papyrus paper, we began by using veggie peelers and removing the green parts of the papyrus entirely until the white core remained.  Then, we peeled the white parts into smaller units and crushed under a rolling pin and blocks of wood to increase the surface area.  We soaked these a couple of days in water. After weaving these together, leaving some holes since that’s what I like, they were dried for quite a few days under some heavy weights. It takes three days to dry the green and six if you use the white parts.

 

Exploring Sketchbook Ideas

diving into new sketchbook Lessons from classmates

For our Art Education Studio class, each of us concocted sketchbook ideas that are out of the ordinary, centered around drawing.  During each week of class, we are creating one of these problem-based assignments that are open-ended with some boundaries for concepts, techniques and materials.

Mapping Identity

Mapping Identity

For our introduction to the class assigned by our teacher, I made an identity map with concepts and events from my life. I used circles to represent the spirals of things I’ve lived through and as a shape of continuity and wholeness in each time period. The only parameter was to draw a 3 inch square in the middle and go from there.

Sketchbook Investigation 1

Sketchbook Investigation 1: Self-portrait

Assignment 1 was a self-portrait made using a reflective surface other than a mirror with 16 crayons.  I used my computer screen which is a memorial to my grandpa, so I can see him everyday.  I layered the crayons and melted them off with an iron with a paper on top.  Then I went back in with a knife and scraped some more off before adding additional crayon.

Sketchbook Investigation 2

Sketchbook Investigation 2: My First Chimera

The second one I made was three animals pieced together that was alive now or had been at one point, each with a different drawing medium. This became a narwhal-snake-flying squirrel creature of land, earth and sky.  I used crayon, colored pencil and marker.

Sketchbook Investigation 3

Sketchbook Investigation 3: Google Doodle

For this assignment, we made Google doodles about ourselves that might appear on the homepage for Google search.  I made this out of marker and it shows an archeological dig, a balloon, cookware and a pool, among other things, showing my interests.

Sketchbook Investigation 4

Sketchbook Investigation 4: Pumpkin Pi

For this one, we made an initial design for a pumpkin to be auctioned off at Shelter House, a local organization that helps the homeless.  I used acrylic paint.  Actual pumpkin decoration linked here: http://arted.tessasutton.com/2018/09/20/pumpkin-auction-at-shelter-house.

Sketchbook Investigation 5

Sketchbook Investigation 5: Dreamy Milkweed

In this assignment, I created a composition without using traditional drawing materials.  Here, I used milkweed I gathered on one of my many walks near my home and some scraps of yarn.  I glued them on.

Sketchbook Investigation 6

Sketchbook Investigation 6: The Mariana Trench

In #6, our parameters were to draw a place from imagination using lots of rich color and detail.  Using chalk colored pencils, I drew the Mariana Trench which is located off Guam.  I’m interested in the stillness and quiet found there as well as a sense of the unknown.

Sketchbook Investigation 7

Sketchbook Investigation 7: Shadows and Colors

This one was about drawing a part of our body’s shadow cast by a light and then placing colors  around it that we identified with.  I chose markers and made shapes, thinking of a quilt around my hand.

Sketchbook 8: looking into depth

Sketchbook 8: Looking into Depth

Using vine charcoal rubbed over the paper and then erased with a gummy eraser, I placed an object obscuring the view and then drew the scene. I went back in with a compressed charcoal, which is darker, to make the darks more absorbing. This gives you a background, middle and foreground.

 

Saturday Art Workshops — 10.6.18

designing Reverse Time Capsules

This week in the Saturday Art Workshop, I taught Reverse Time Capsules which were containers from the future that people had time traveled to the present to leave behind for contemporary folks to find. I gave them the handout and explained that I wanted them to make three pieces to go inside the capsule, such as an artwork from the future, a solution to an ecological problem, a science or medical invention, a new type of building, or the X factor, which was something of their choice. The kids seemed to pick up on this idea faster than I thought they would.

In process

In process

I started off asking them what they knew about time capsules and one said that they just opened one at her school from 100 years ago which was really neat. Then I showed them some of my examples and they got so excited that they just got up and started grabbing cardboard and model magic. I quickly showed them the art materials and wrangled them back into the PowerPoint, which was short. I felt like I had the reins to a wild horse. I realized afterwards that I shouldn’t have shown them my examples right away; I should have waited until after the images because I tried to get them to brainstorm but they just didn’t want to after they had seen the materials and had too much model magic in hand. One thing I could have done is given each a small piece of clay and a piece of paper as we were talking and then they could have brainstormed in 2-D and 3-D. One question I have is what do you do when kids really don’t want to brainstorm or do part of an activity? Do you leave it by the side of the road and just go with what they are interested in?

Final touches in the mini museum

Final touches on the mini museum

Making the time capsule container

Making the time capsule container

The pacing also seemed different this time, although we had other kids because the regular ones were absent. The girl who usually finishes early spent so much time on her box that she only made one future animal and its clothing, but it looked good. Another boy ended early so I had him work on making his mini museum with titles, which is what they all did at the end. It gave them a chance to talk about their art so their peers could comment. Overall I think the timing went pretty well for a 90-minute activity and each one had a completely different capsule shape and ideas. One kid made a car that made tornadoes and a future animal that was similar to a worm that lived in the jungle; another made a bucket that saves water and a place for storing energy.

Another question I have is how do you get kids to explore their ideas more before just steamrolling ahead with what they have planned? It seemed like most of them knew exactly what they wanted to do before they considered too many options. It’s positive in the sense that they are strong-willed but how do you get them to brainstorm and play more before making decisions?

Tornado car

Tornado car

A future animal with clothes

A future animal with clothes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mini museum

The mini museum

Teacher examples:

Pyramid time capsule

Pyramid time capsule

Underwater city, cure for cancer and tree seeds

Underwater city, cure for cancer and tree seeds